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Environment and human rights

  • Globalization has a credible future only if the borderless economy does not overstretch the resilience of the biosphere and frustrate demands for greater justice in the world. But what means environmental justice in a transnational context? In general, justice may have three different senses: justice as fairness, justice as equitable distribution, and justice as human dignity. In the first it is a question of organized procedures for the allocation of advantages and disadvantages that are fair to everyone involved; this is the procedural conception of justice. In the second it is a question of proportionate distribution of goods and rights among individuals or groups; this is the relational conception of justice. And in the third it is aGlobalization has a credible future only if the borderless economy does not overstretch the resilience of the biosphere and frustrate demands for greater justice in the world. But what means environmental justice in a transnational context? In general, justice may have three different senses: justice as fairness, justice as equitable distribution, and justice as human dignity. In the first it is a question of organized procedures for the allocation of advantages and disadvantages that are fair to everyone involved; this is the procedural conception of justice. In the second it is a question of proportionate distribution of goods and rights among individuals or groups; this is the relational conception of justice. And in the third it is a question of the minimum goods or rights necessary for a dignified existence; this is the absolute or substantive conception of justice. This paper develops the theme of international environmental justice in the third sense, as a human rights issue. First, it outlines six typical situations in which patterns of resource use come into conflict with subsistence rights: namely, extraction of raw materials, alteration of ecosystems, reprogramming of organisms, destabilization as a result of climate change, pollution of urban living space, and effects of resource prices. It then introduces the debate on human rights and locates respect for subsistence rights as a component of economic, social and cultural human rights. Finally, it offers some markers for an environmental policy geared to human rights, the aim of which is to guarantee civil rights for all in a world with a finite biosphere. Neither power play between states nor economic competition, but the realization of human rights and respect for the biosphere, should be the defining feature of the emergent world society.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Document Type:Working Paper
Author:Wolfgang Sachs
URN (citable link):https://nbn-resolving.org/urn:nbn:de:bsz:wup4-18117
Publisher:Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie
Place of Publication:Wuppertal
Year of Publication:2003
Pagenumber:40
Series Title (English):Wuppertal papers
Volume:137
Language:English
Dewey Decimal Classification:300 Sozialwissenschaften
Abteilung:Arbeitsgruppe Neue Wohlstandsmodelle
Licence:License LogoIn Copyright - Urheberrechtlich geschützt